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Fokkens, A., Wandl-Vogt, E., Declerck, T., ter Braake, S., Hyvönen, E., Bosse, A., McGillivray, B. (2016). Biographical Data Workshop: modeling, sharing and analyzing people’s lives. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, p. 927.
Biographical Data Workshop: modeling, sharing and analyzing people’s lives

Biographical Data Workshop: modeling, sharing and analyzing people’s lives

There is an abundance of biographical information online that begs to be analyzed with computational methods. Resources like Wiki- and DBpedia, Biographical Dictionaries, Historical Databases, Newsfeeds, Facebook and Twitter all provide information on individual’s lives. ‘Biographical data’ is of particular interest to computer scientists, because it can be well structured and all people share common attributes such as place of birth, place of residence, parents, et cetera.

The analysis of `biographical data' with new techniques is a topic that is finding strong interest in research groups all over the world, demonstrated most recently by the first conference on Biographical Data, organized in Amsterdam in 2015. This conference brought researchers from various domains together including historians, librarians, computer scientists, data scientists, and computational linguists.

The purpose of this workshop is to take a next step in strengthening the community working with digital biographical data by exploring possibilities of turning shared interest into new international collaborations. A central theme in this next step will be connecting and linking data.

A strong international community working on biographical data and aiming for shared data representations can directly support other domains in the digital humanities: easily accessible background information on people involved in historical or contemporary events, on artists, researchers or groups of people with common professions can provide background information and therefore be of interest to digital humanities researchers working with topics beyond research on biographical data.

This workshop brings together researchers from various domains working on biographical data. In addition to sharing latest progress, it has the specific aim of initiating efforts to share (knowledge about) data and data models. The workshop directly contributes to the efforts of the DARIAH workgroup on biographical data and aims to involve new researchers in this collaboration.  A call for organization will go out for the Biographical Data in a Digital World Conference in 2017 (2015 conference: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1399/).

The workshop consist of two main components: 1) a poster session where researchers can share their latest work on biographical data and computational analysis and 2) dedicated sessions about data and data models.

For our poster session, we explicitly invite researchers to the workshop who work with biographical data for historical research or data analysis (e.g. computational linguists, visualization experts) and are thus already very familiar with models for biographical data, but are not necessarily involved in designing them. This perspective is of great value during discussions on sharing and modeling data and can provide insights into what kind of data models are practical to work with or which links between various datasets are most valuable for research. These insights can in turn help to identify logical and practical first steps towards increasing international collaboration

Descriptions on data models and data samples will be distributed to participants in advance and studied by a panel. The panel will present their findings and support the discussion on sharing data. Direct involvement in several projects and strong relations with other international partners guarantees an interesting set of data and data models.